Friday, March 23, 2012


When our nation was born the idea that opportunity and equality of man were sacred. Liberty and tolerance for ideas, new and old, would be encouraged. Fresh from a colonial experience that shoved hierarchy and privilege down our collective throats, the Founding Fathers wanted to demonstrate that we could make our way without the guidance of a clueless aristocracy or judgmental priests.

Not surprisingly, both clergy and monarch warned of anarchy if we didn't do things their way. Filled with threats and predictions of failure, the Founding Fathers were unmoved.

In fact, they were so confident that humanity could find its way without recourse to feudal customs and commands they drafted a new constitution explaining how it should be done. Our new constitution not only anticipated a "zeal for different opinions" - which was frowned upon and stifled in feudal Europe - but they drew it up in a way that guaranteed our collective "passions" would boil over into contentious "factions."

Take that, ancien régime.

It didn't matter whether things boiled over when it came to issues like religion, government, or wealth. The Founding Fathers understood that they would. But they also understood that our national experience would be a much richer one if the "propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities" was encouraged, and even fed. This was the thinking that gave us the freedom, liberty, and tolerance we enjoy today. It's what holds our "Shining City on a Hill" together, for the world to see.

I bring this up because, philosophically and intellectually, we all have to come to terms with people like this ...

But, wait, there's more.

What are we to make of other people like Pastor Terry who claim to love America but are much more specific in their hate and intolerance for large segments of ordinary Americans? Jon Stewart's done an excellent job outlining the paranoia and fear that certain segments of society have with those who are members of - or who identify with - gays, liberals, Planned Parenthood, the entertainment and news industry, the poor, tenured professors, unions, trial lawyers, community organizers, federal employees, the SEIU, the 50% who pay no income tax, activist judges, and global warming advocates.

No wonder the United States ranks #1 when it comes to anxiety disorders. Large segments of our population claim to love America, but actually hate Americans. The interesting thing is that many of these people claim to be followers of Christ.

Instead of embracing the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to be free, many of Christ's followers in America possess a sense of tolerance and mercy that's more akin to this ...

So, here's what I'm thinking.

Whether it's Dennis Terry, John Hagee, or any number of the preachers of division and intolerance out there, one thing is clear: If they're going to claim to love America they need to learn what it actually stood for in the eyes of  the Founding Fathers.

Is that asking too much?

- Mark

No comments: